|Name: _________________________||Period: ___________________|
This test consists of 5 short answer questions and 1 (of 3) essay topics.
Short Answer Questions
1. With what other character does Hardeman work?
2. In Chapter 9, what medium does Volterra say would be best for telling the cult's story?
3. Where is Del Nearing en route to when she stays with James in Chapter 10?
4. What holiday is approaching at the beginning of Chapter 8?
5. Which of the following is not a character that James Axton meets in person?
Essay Topic 1
In The Names, Don DeLillo has created a central mystery - the mystery of the cult - in which clues and revelations are annoyingly amorphous and cannot necessarily be trusted. Write an essay about the subjectivity of truth in the novel, focusing on three pieces of information that James Axton gleans in his investigation. Where does this information come from? What is James's attitude towards it? Does he think that it is ultimately trustworthy?
Essay Topic 2
Write an essay about the ensemble that is James Axton's expatriate social scene. What collective philosophy do these people share, and for whence does this philosophy derive? In this essay, discuss the dynamic that exists within the group. Who are the most dominant figures in the group dynamic, and who feels like an outsider? Which couples are strong and which are clearly foundering? How is this made apparent?
Essay Topic 3
The action of Don DeLillo's The Names largely centers on a group of westerners' search for the language cult that stalks Eurasia. Each of these men has a reason for seeking this death-cult, and each has tactics that yield varying success. Write an essay about the individual quests for the cult in the novel:
Part 1) Why does Frank Volterra want to find the death cult in The Names, and what is his intention when he does find them? Discuss how Volterra initially hears about the cult, and what tactic he uses to find them. What success does this yield? Why does the director give up?
Part 2) Why does James Axton want to find the cult? Discuss what other events in his life coincide with this dangerous quest. What does James discover about the cult, and how? How is his sense of sanity affected by this? What new fears and obsessions does the search evoke?
Part 3) Why does Owen Brademas want to find the death cult? How does his childhood relate to his goals in the quest? Discuss what tactics and skills make Owen Brademas the most successful of the searchers in the novel. Why, in the end, does Owen consider his search a failure?
This section contains 2,360 words
(approx. 8 pages at 300 words per page)